Some intriguing starts to the year have a lot of Colorado high school softball teams flying under the radar. This is a good chance to take a look at some intriguing teams at this point of the season.

First, let’s set the ground rules. To qualify as “under the radar,” a team can’t be coming off a deep postseason run. So, Class 5A Columbine, 4A Lutheran and 3A Eaton clearly don’t make the list after winning titles last fall. And neither do teams like Holy Family, last year’s 4A runner-up which has crushed everyone so far this season as it pushes for a fourth championship in six years.

Perfect starts to the year get you kicked out, too. Columbine, Horizon, Grandview, Air Academy, Holy Family, Roosevelt, Frederick, Pueblo County, Wiley, Eaton, Thomas Jefferson, Dolores Huerta Prep all remain unbeaten through Wednesday.

All the teams below lost in the opening round of their respective state tournament last season.

Class 5A

CHSAA-unranked Arvada West: The Wildcats are 9-1 this season, outscoring team 113-33.

They returned their top three pitchers and four RBI leaders from last season. Ace Mac Ferguson is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 32 innings and is hitting .500 with 11 RBIs. Jailynn Ausman has driven in 16 runs and has four homers.

They’re at Castle View Friday.

Unranked Cherokee Trail: The Cougars have split their first six games, falling to champ Columbine, No. 5 Valor Christian and Arvada West.

Their top eight RBI leaders are back. Kennedy Brian, who drove in 31 a year ago, is hitting .455 with 10 RBIs and a homer in six games.

They’re at reigning runner-up Douglas County Friday.

Class 4A

UR Pueblo West: Bradie Poteet-Herrera had a standout sophomore campaign in 2022, belting a team-leading 29 RBIs. Her junior season is off to an even better start.

Poteet-Herrera is hitting .565 and has driven in 17 to go along with her two homers. Teren Sanchez has added 12 RBIs and two homers of her own.

In a 5-3 start, the Cyclones have lost to 2022 5A semifinalist Erie twice and 4A runner-up Holy Family once. They’re at Elizabeth Saturday.

UR Berthoud: The Spartans return Cemryn Pickett, who had 29 RBIs and a 2.42 ERA in 137 2/3 innings in the circle in 2022.

This season, she has a 3.61 ERA in 33 innings, striking out 59, and has driven in 10 runs. Her team is 6-1 on the year.

The Spartans are at Weld Central later today.

Class 3A

UR Delta: The Panthers started the season 0-3 with losses to No. 1 Eaton, No. 2 Strasburg and No. 6 Fort Lupton at the Eaton Tournament. But they’ve beaten Weld Central and Palisade over the past week.

Tatem Miller and Belle Kraai return after combining for 61 RBIs and four homers. Miller has driven in three this year, Kraai five. Freshman Jazlyn Naranjo leads the team with seven RBIs this season.

They’re at Gunnison today.

No. 9 The Academy: The Wildcats are 7-1 this season with their lone loss coming to 5A Erie.

They return their top seven RBI leaders from 2022. Mackenzie Pearson and Isabella Bruntz each already have 23 RBIs apiece this season. Bruntz is 4-1 in the circle with a 2.62 ERA in 24 innings.

They’re at Standley Lake today.